There was also a prophetess, Anna. . . . She was very old, having been married to her husband for seven years until his death. She had lived as a widow since then for eighty-four years. She never left the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment, she came up to them and began to give thanks to God and to speak about the child to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.
(Luke 2:36–38, NET)
As a child, Christmas was primarily about getting presents. Though our family went to church regularly, I was not taught about Jesus as my personal Savior. Two years into marriage, my husband and I both gave our lives to Christ. Christmas suddenly took on a new meaning. We discovered that this annual holiday represents much more than giving and receiving presents. It’s a time to celebrate and give thanks to God for the gift of His Son, just as Anna praised God when she saw the Christ Child in the temple.
Above all else, Christmas is a birthday celebration. It commemorates the day Jesus was born. One of the ways we celebrated with our children was to have a birthday cake on Christmas Day and sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus. The children loved to help decorate the cake, and there was always a discussion about how many candles to use since 1900+ was not an option!
We wanted our family to remember always that the most important part of Christmas is Jesus. He is the reason for the season, as is often said. From a very young age, our children knew that this special day, set aside each year in December, represented an opportunity to reflect on the significance of Jesus coming to earth and the ultimate gift He gave of His life on the cross for the salvation of humankind.
As you decorate the tree, set out the nativity scene, exchange gifts, enjoy delicious meals, talk and laugh, and celebrate Christmas with family and friends, remember to say (or sing), “Happy Birthday, Jesus!”